ST. LOUIS, Mo. — No. 2 Washington-St. Louis set a new Division III record for consecutive set victories in a 3-0 win against Lindenwood (25-13, 25-17, 25-16) at the Washington University Invitational on Saturday morning in St. Louis, Mo.
The Bears also picked up a 3-0 win against Culver-Stockton (25-12, 25-17, 26-24) in the WU Invitational finale to improve to 21-0 overall and a perfect 63-0 in sets. Wisconsin-Oshkosh established the previous Division III record of 57-consecutive sets during the 2007 season.
Washington’s school record of 48 sets in arow stood for 15 years after being set during the 1996 season. The Bears achieved the new school record with a sweep of New York University last weekend at the first University Athletic Association (UAA) round robin.
The record was officially broken with the 25-13 opening set victory against Lindenwood. Thanks to a strong serving run from junior libero Kelly Pang that included a pair of aces, the Bears jumped out to a 7-1 lead and never looked back. Senior middle hitter Lauren Budde had seven kills in the opening-set on her way to a match-high tally of 14.
Sophopmore middle hitter Kaia Schwartz was the star in the second set win, burying five kills to go along with a pair of blocks. As a team Washington University recorded six blocks in the second-set alone, with sophomore outside hitter Meghan Byrne and sophomore right side Megan Odenthal also finishing with two apiece.
The Bears hit a match-high .424 in the third set with 15 kills and just one error. Budde led the team with four kills while Byrne and Schwartz each had three.
Schwartz also finished the match with double-digit kills, hitting .667 with 10 kills and no errors. Junior setter Marilee Fisher had 30 assists, six digs and four kills and Pang tallied a team-high 18 digs and three aces, moving past Kathy Bersett (1987-90) for fifth-place in school history with 1,548-career digs.
After winning the first two sets against Culver-Stockton the Bears’ consecutive set streak nearly came to an end in the third, but Washington University survived four-straight Culver-Stockton shots at set point to rally all the way back for a 26-24 win, marking only the second time this season the Bears have seen a set last longer than 25 points.
Washington U. trailed by as many as six points in the third set and found itself facing a 24-20 deficit when a serve from senior Tricia Brandt smacked into the very top of the net but fell down on the Bears’ side of the court.
A kill from Budde on the next play gave the serve back to Washington U. and sophomore Tanya Marvi completed the 6-0 run with a series of aggressive serves. An ace from Marvi knotted the score at 24-24 and Budde closed out the win with a pair of kills, including a tipped attack that found the floor to give Washington U. a 25-24 lead.
Eight of Budde’s 12 kills came in the third set nail biter. Byrne finished the match hitting .579 with 12 kills and Schwartz hit .500 with eight kills on 12 attacks.
Budde, Fisher and Schwartz were each named to the Washington University Invitational All-Tournament Team. Budde led the Bears with 42 kills while hitting .316, Fisher paced the offense with 77 assists to go along with 11 kills and 14 digs, and Schwartz hit an astounding .550 with 24 kills and a team high eight total blocks.
Washington U. (21-0) returns to action next weekend when it will travel to Rochester, N.Y. on Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 15-16, for the second UAA round robin of the season.
The Bears open competition on Saturday against No. 16 Chicago at 12:30 p.m. ET and face Case Western Reserve at 2:30 p.m. ET.